Is it legal to gamble online in the UK?

online gambling

While more than 80% of Australians enjoy casino games legally, gambling in South Korea can get you in jail.

China and the US have strict regulations for the industry, often allowing very few gambling sites in each state.

By contrast, the UK has been reaping the benefits of online gambling for over 15 years. Not only is it legal to gamble online in the UK, but it is also a part of the region’s sports culture. Visit any top premier league football club. There are banners, ads and sponsorship-related promotions from betting companies.

Why is online gambling legal in the UK and illegal in the US? Find out below, including how Britain ensures it leads the world in providing gambling related services.

The Basics

The legal age for gambling is 18 years. This applies to both online and offline gambling. It doesn’t matter what games are played-betting lotteries, bingos or casino game providers must follow the rule. The only exception comes to lottery and football pool games in offline gambling as 16 years is the legal age limit.

Online casinos have the responsibility to use ethical means when advertising. They can’t spam Internet users or target children. They also shouldn’t use misleading words and promises. Breaking the rules attracts hefty fines and prosecution.

An online casino is not considered a gambling site if it does not offer monetary rewards to winners. That means sites that reward players with video game skins instead of money are not casinos. The rule may not last long though as there is increasing monitoring of sites with near similar features to traditional gambling sites.

The Gambling Act 2005

Although the UK has supported online gambling since the 1990s, its Gambling Commission was not launched until 2005. The Commission got full powers in 2007 and got added powers to regulate national lotteries in 2013.

Any casino that wants to launch services in the UK must acquire a license from the commission. Players can also make complaints if they suspect a gambling site is involved in illegal activities. Compared to other regulators, the UK’s gambling commission ranks high amongst the most respectable commissions. Gambling on any casino regulated in the UK should give you comfort knowing you are protected from a casino’s misdeeds.


You don’t pay any taxes when you win on any UK-based online casinos. Unlike in the US and most countries around the world, what you win on a UK online casino is 100% yours. Visit any casinos and try your luck with games. If you win, there are no questions asked. You get all the money wired to your account.

The Gambling commission taxes the gaming sites instead. Casino-game gambling sites pay 15% of their profits. They share the same rates with betting sites. Companies that offer financial spread bets pay 3% of their profits as tax while 10% is paid for other spread bets.

Despite not taxing players, the UK made more than $3.5 billion in 2017, a 100% increase from ten years ago. When you think about it, The UK’s tax rate isn’t high. Some European countries like Germany and France tax gambling sites in the upwards of 50%. The low taxes in Britain have obviously been beneficial to the region as evidenced by the gambling industry’s high growth.

Payment Methods

UK-based casinos are some of the most innovative in the world. If there is a popular, good payment method anywhere, be certain it’s supported in an online casino in the UK. Visa and MasterCard are two of the most popular credit card payment options. Almost every casino supports them.

PayPal is not supported in all online casinos due to chargeback issues. But more than half of online casinos support the payment method. If you are not a PayPal user, you have the option to use Neteller, Payoneer, Stripe, Google Pay and other Internet-based payment methods.

Bitcoin, which wasn’t popular until a few years ago, has also taken many online casinos by storm. With the emergence of bitcoin-only gambling sites, every Internet-based gambling site accepts the cryptocurrency. Besides bitcoin, most of the platforms accept Ethereum and other major digital currencies.

Sports Betting

It’s hard to think of any other country with as many international betting sites as the UK. Betfair is both a pioneer and a leader in the betting world. 888sport is one of the largest gambling companies both in the UK and the US. Ladbrokes, Betfred and Williamhill also have significant market shares throughout Europe.

UK-based players have a wide range of options when it comes to betting. The leading gambling sites also sponsor local sports league, marketing their services to sports fans countrywide. Besides variety in the number of betting sites, the gambling companies offer multiple wagers and win options.

Progressive jackpots are held weekly and you can bet in almost anything that is related to sports. You can wager on the number of goals, players, game outcomes, tournaments and cards produced by referees. Football is not the only sport you can bet on. The UK is home to some of the world’s most famous games in the world. From rugby to tennis, eSports to golf—all popular games are supported.

Gambling Post-Brexit

In the last one year, a few online gambling companies have come out threatening to leave the UK should Brexit hurt their businesses in any way. So far, none of the companies is yet to leave—meaning they still value the UK market.

Some people have argued Brexit may hurt job opportunities for people living in Gibraltar and the Isle of Man. The two UK territories act as headquarters to some of the world’s largest gambling sites and employ people from around the world.  In spite of the challenges, the online gambling industry in the UK is expected to continue growing.

To Conclude

Britain is one of the world’s largest hubs for online gambling. The biggest betting sites started in London, Gibraltar and other UK territories. Good tax laws, a strong regulatory commission and a favorable market have helped the industry continue growing over the years. The threat of Brexit may lead to the exit of some companies but most gambling sites will continue serving UK customers.